Thoughts about Ethiopia

There is not just one way to describe the people of Ethiopia.  There are many different cultures and people groups.  Muslim, Orthodox, Judaism,  and “Christian” religions are scattered about the country.  Many Ethiopians believe the Ark of the Covenant is in their country.

We could hear the call to prayer in the mosques early in the morning and throughout the day.  Most women had some type of head covering on and almost all the women wore long skirts. Beautiful carved, Orthodox crosses are everywhere.  And “Christians” put cross stickers across their rear window.

Middle eastern faces, Indian faces, pale-brown faces, dark-brown faces  met me on the sidewalk.  All Ethiopian, all different.  Even their language is varied.

K and J come from the village that bears the name of the most famous Ethiopian coffee consumed by Americans.  Their family doesn’t speak Amharic (the language of Ethiopia).  That means K and J have had to learn Amharic over the last year so they could communicate with their nannies.

We discovered that most places have really good macchiatos and in general, great coffee.  Kaldis, a coffee shop/cafe that was only about a 20 minute walk from the guest house, was one of our favorite hangouts.  I really liked their mango ice-cream.

(picture here)

We also discovered that we really like injera, a spongy, steamed, sour-dough bread that is a staple.  The people cover their plates with injera and then stews and sauces are placed on top.  Another piece of injera is used to pick up the spicy stews.  Of course you have to eat it with your hand.  At one restaurant, the waiters came by and washed our hands for us when we finished eating.  A fun but sometimes a messy experience.

(2 pictures here)

The kids at Layla (the place where K and J live) eat injera at least twice a day.  Our first day, K wanted to sit on my lap and eat it.  Fortunately, we were invited to join in their meal, so she sat beside me.  The kids had wat (the stews) all over their faces and hands and sometimes their clothes.  They are really good about helping each other get cleaned up, though.

(3 pictures here)

We stayed in the Ritmo guest house with about 6 other families.  It was wonderful.  The best part had to be meeting the other families and hearing their adoption stories.  One family was on the 2nd trip and so their two boys were with them in the guest house.  The rest of us were on our first trip.  There was plenty of space and it was only about a 5 minute walk to Layla everyday (several times a day, actually).  Most of the rooms have bunkbeds and/or baby beds for when you are traveling with your children.

(4 pictures here)

Every house had some kind of wall, mostly concrete or stone, surrounding it.  The poorest of homes were contained behind tin walls.

(2 pictures here)

It rained almost everyday we were in Addis.  Usually it rained really hard for about 20 minutes and then it was over.  We would walk outside, expecting to see puddles and mud, but it was always dry and dusty.  The water just soaked into the ground.  Their rainy season is just about to begin and will probably be in full swing by the time we take our next trip. We have been told that the water flows in the streets during that time.

(2 pictures here)

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